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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Michael Walsh, the founding editor of BigJournalism.com, the former music critic of Time Magazine, and the author of eleven books, including Hostile Intent and the recently published Early Warning (Pinnacle Books). Writing as “David Kahane,” he has just published Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the Left at Its Own Game to Take Back America. (Ballantine).
FP: Michael Walsh, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Let’s begin with what inspired you to write this book.
Walsh: Like most conservatives, I was tired of seeing the Right get smacked around all the time by the Left, and never fighting back. Even though Bush was not a true conservative, it was still exasperating watching him turn into a piñata that the Left could gleefully batter with absolutely no fear of reprisal. Rules for Radical Conservatives is payback time. Fortunately, I knew just the man to take on the job: my alter-ego, “David Kahane,” who’s been writing in the pages of National Review Online for the past three years. “Kahane” is a dyed-in-the-red-diaper baby who seeks to explain the way of Hollywood and the Left to the whiny losers on the Right, but even he had had enough: Rules (the sulfuric evocation of Alinsky is entirely intentional) is, as Ann Coulter says, “the manual for the counter-revolution.”
FP: So, in your view, why doesn’t the Right know how to fight?
Walsh: Because it plays by the wrong rules. Politics, especially as practiced by the hard Left since the 1960s, is not a place for turning the other cheek. The Right foolishly believes that because its principles are better and nobler than those of the Left, it will win in the marketplace of ideas. The Left, on the other hand, knows that the Right’s principles are better and truer, which is why it is always so desperate to discredit them, by any means necessary. One of the inspirations for Rules is Milton’s Paradise Lost, so draw your own conclusions.
FP: Why does the Right consistently underestimate the nature of the enemy?
Walsh: Because it is has lost one very fundamental animating principle — or, rather, it has allowed the Left to browbeat it to death. I speak of course of the existence of evil. Western civilization, for all its imperfections (which the Left is only to happy to point out a la Alinsky’s rule of making the enemy live up to its own highest ideals), triumphed because of its moral center. It was that moral center that gave rise to the art, music, literature, philosophy and technology that propelled Western European civilization past its rivals. For some reason, the Left feels compelled to destroy that civilization and I must say it’s doing a fine job.
Until conservatives face up to the nature of their opponent — not in the political realm but in the moral realm — they’re going to continue to have a hard time, no matter what electoral success may come next month. You can’t fight an enemy unless you can name him, which is why the very first rule of my book is Know Thy Enemy.
FP: David Horowitz has exposed what Obama and the left are up to in Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution – The Alinsky Model. What do you think are the lessons of Saul Alinsky?
Walsh: David knows Alinsky, his methods, his motives and his goals better than anybody else alive who’s not named Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and his monograph on the subject is required reading for conservatives, especially if you can’t stand the thought of slogging through Alinsky’s turgid prose in Rules for Radicals to learn his lessons. And what are those lessons? That ruthlessness pays when you’re up against a demoralized foe. That “by any means necessary” is not something to be ashamed of. That if you batter long and hard enough against even the sturdiest castle’s walls, they will eventually fall when their defenders decide they’re no longer worth defending. And that has been the triumph of the left these past 50 years — they have made western civilization seem not worth defending.
FP: What are the Left’s weapons that we should be fighting with?
Walsh: First and foremost, an unshakable belief in the rightness of your position. The Left never compromises, except tactically, and never on principle. They take the long view; they understand that the war between St. Michael and Satan didn’t end with the expulsion from Heaven — all that it did was give Lucifer (Alinsky’s dedicatee) his own counter-kingdom, from which to wage war on… well, us. Having no sense of shame helps a lot, too.
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